This article was written by Young Carer Ambassador, Jacqueline, for Carers Week 2021.
This year’s National Carers Week theme ‘Millions of Reasons to Care’ reminds me of one of my favourite songs ‘A Million Dreams’ from the movie ‘The Greatest Showman’. Any other Zendaya fans here? As the line in the song goes, ‘I think of what the world could be, a vision of the one I see’. This is a world where other Young Carers, like me, are well supported in their role so they can reach their full potential.
I have cared for all my immediate family members at one point or another, but I primarily cared for my twin brother and older brother. They have Autism as well as a range of mental and physical health conditions.
As a twin, I naturally took on a caring role from a very young age as my twin and I went most places together. I have been his built-in support system and I try to help him cope with the sensory overload that the world presents for people on the autism spectrum. This role has ultimately been rewarding as I’ve learnt to be resilient and gained so much perspective about the issues that people with disabilities face.
It has not been without its challenges though! Being a Young Carer is a very time-consuming job. It can feel quite isolating as it’s hard to relate to your peers when you’re juggling the stress of your home life with just trying to be a kid. In school I’ve definitely struggled with this as I was worried about what seemed like more important issues than most of the kids my age.
That’s why support for Young Carers is so crucial! It provides respite from their caring role to enjoy ‘normal’ things like seeing friends, going to school and pursuing hobbies. Without it, engaging in education, social life and work is extremely difficult and consequently Young Carers become disadvantaged.
I am a strong advocate for Young Carers because I want this much needed support to be more appropriate and accessible. The assistance I have received, whilst far from perfect, has allowed me to focus on high school and provided me with hope for the future. I am excited to travel, study at university and start my career after I graduate from year 12 – all things I wasn’t sure were possible a few years ago. These are just some of the ‘million dreams [I have] for the world we’re gonna make!’